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Council for Medical Schemes on COVID-19

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Coronaviruses are a large family of viruses that are common in many different species of animals, includ- ing camels, cattle, cats, and bats. These viruses cause illness ranging from the common cold to more severe diseases such as bronchitis, pneumonia and respiratory and multi-organ failure. for Medical Schemes Council The coronavirus outbreak The first coronavirus (COVID-19) cases were reported in early December 2019 in the central Chinese city of Wuhan. On 30 January 2020, the World Health Organization (WHO) declared the outbreak a "public health emergency of in- ternational concern". As of 4 March 2020, more than 90,893 confirmed cases have been re- ported worldwide, and over 3,190 deaths have occurred, but there have been no confirmed cases of COVID-19 in South Africa. Coronaviruses are also responsible for pre- vious epidemics including severe acute re- spiratory syndrome (SARS) and Middle East respiratory syndrome (MERS). These viruses were originally transmitted between animals and people. In the case of SARS, viruses were transmitted from civet cats to humans while in MERS, the infection travelled to humans from a type of camel. In the case of COVID-19, scien- tists have pointed to infected animal species, including pangolins and bats as the original source of the virus. While it is suspected that the initial COVID-19 epidemic started through animal-to-human transmission, the cur- rent epidemic is being fuelled by human-to-human trans- mission. How is the virus spread? • Coronaviruses are spread through aerosol drop- lets which are expelled when an infected individual coughs or sneezes within a range of about 1.8m. These droplets can contaminate surfaces like door handles or railings. Although coronavirus droplets only stay suspended in the air for a short time, they may remain contagious on surfaces for a few hours. • It has also been suggested that COVID-19 may be spread through the faecal-oral route (contact with faeces from an infected person) and via air-condi- tioning ducts. • Of concern is the fact that COVID-19 is being trans- mitted by individuals who are asymptomatic (show no symptoms) of the infection. Member of a medical scheme? Know your guaranteed benefits! Issue 1 of 2020 Coronavirus Disease CMScript

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